Rebellion Mausoleum

Alexandra Galkina, Dmitry Zabavin, Akisa Ioffe, Sergey Ogurtsov, Alexey Pankin, Andrey Rezhet, Nikolay Ridniy, David Ter-Oganyan, Valia Fetisov, Roman Ess
Мавзолей бунта
Dates 16 April — 31 May 2009
Address Stella Art Foundation
Mytnaya street, 62

The exhibition Rebellion Mausoleum presents the work of young artists, most of whom are exhibiting for the first time. They are starting at a difficult time: the era of unbridled growth (economic and informational) has passed, and an enormous construction site remains with countless unfinished buildings. Yet it had become clear a long time ago already that this construction work was thoughtless and aimless and that the whole enterprise could only lead to collapse and catastrophe. We will have to live for a long time to come among these ruins and unfinished buildings. Ruins are a monument to meaninglessness. Therefore, it is no surprise that young artists mostly strive to give at least some meaning to the reality around them. What do we have as a result? Dozens if not hundreds of unfinished projects, various poorly developed and incomplete ideas and forms, and lots of social initiatives and institutions that will never be implemented or created. Should one try to build something new, creating yet another construction site, or work with what already exists?

This dilemma leads to the idea of the Work as the meaningful completion of the unfinished. Indeed, our previous stage of development was primarily marked by activism: the most important thing was to act, no matter how and to what end. It was more important to be active and energetic than intelligent and profound. Yet we cannot afford to have such criteria any longer. Now, the main virtue should be a plan of action with a well-defined goal, i.e., returning the Artwork into the system of art. After all, the artwork begins as a conception, continues as a system of meticulously planned action, and ends as an artifact that is full of meaning. We are witnessing a rebellion today – the rebellion of a new generation of artists against amorphous and thoughtless activism, against all initiatives without clearly defined goals or ends, and against the endless institutionalism that keeps creating useless and meaningless “organizations”. 


Today, the aim of contemporary artists is to give meaning and completion to all the media rehabilitated by the postmodern age. The latter rejected the purism of the avant-garde and reinstated the painting, the object, and virtually all other media prohibited by the avant-garde (and, in particular, by conceptualism). Yet this return was ironic, playful, and somewhat hesitant, masking itself with jokes and even spoofs. Now the time has come to work consciously with these reinstated media.  


Young artists feel and understand this. As a result, their work consists not of the thoughtless search for new media (what artists did in the 2000s) – be it extraordinary new technologies or anti-artistic social actions – but of giving rehabilitated media the form of completed artworks. Of course, this completion still resembles a skeleton or framework. After all, the first step consists of identifying the artwork’s principal structural axes. (One of these formal axes is the internal symmetry of the artifact.) Another important attribute of the artwork is its aura. This term introduced by Benjamin has been subject to different interpretations. Most people agree that an auratic object creates an invisible gap between itself and the viewer. Creating this gap is extremely difficult. One of the most straightforward ways of doing it is to give the artifact the intonations of a religious object, i.e., an object with a lofty purpose of its own. This imitation of religiousness creates the aura, which is only amplified by imitativeness. In the absence of religion, the aura becomes an artistic technique. The presence of this well-defined technique marks the new artistic movement of auratism. 

The artifacts brought together in this group exhibition have a clear auratic effect and give rise to a new exhibition ensemble. Naturally, the exhibition remains an exhibition, yet the highest form of the auratic ensemble is the mausoleum (with which the temple competes). The combination of the young artists’ rebellion against incompletion and the auratization of the artwork gives rise precisely to the REBELLION MAUSOLEUM. 


Anatoly Osmolovsky